Published On: Thu, May 8th, 2014

Floods of refugees threatening to overwhelm aid agencies

GOAL’s Country Director in Ethiopia: “We must address underfunding of the South Sudan catastrophe, or aid agencies and host governments will struggle to cope with the growing number of refugees.”

As refugees continue to flood into Ethiopia, GOAL has reiterated its call for the international community to address a critical underfunding of the South Sudanese Refugee Emergency appeal, which has received only 14 per cent of the €266 million that was requested.

Over a period of 72 hours this week, more than 11,000 women and children crossed from South Sudan into Ethiopia. Thousands more are massed at the border, waiting to enter Ethiopia. With continuing conflict and a predicted famine in South Sudan, the number of people fleeing the country is expected to substantially increase over coming months.

GOAL has warned that without adequate support, neighbouring countries and aid agencies will struggle to cope.

GOAL is delivering nutrition and medical aid to over 50,000 refugees at Kule refugee camp in the Gambella region of Ethiopia. A new refugee camp is being established in the region to accommodate another 30,000 people.

GOAL’s Country Director in Ethiopia, John Rynne, commented, “In conjunction with the Ethiopian authorities, our staff are already working flat out at Kule camp to address the needs of 50,000 refugees. And of course we will continue to do that. However, new waves of refugees are arriving every day, and unless we receive adequate support from the international community, the point will soon be reached where the aid agencies and host governments will struggle to cope.

“In the past 72 hours alone, more than 11,000 South Sudanese women and children have crossed into Ethiopia. And the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, has said that many more thousands of people are massed close to the border, waiting to enter the country. All of these people will be moved to Kule camp. The flood of refugees into neighbouring countries is set to become even worse, when a predicted famine hits South Sudan.

“Aid agencies and host governments need all the assistance we can get, yet it appears we are being left to tackle this humanitarian catastrophe alone. It is extremely disappointing that a mere 14 per cent of the South Sudanese Refugee Emergency appeal has been delivered. Without adequate funding to properly address the overspill of refugees from South Sudan, the entire region will be thrown into crisis. The international community must immediately address the disgraceful underfunding of the South Sudanese Refugee Emergency appeal.”

Ends

For further comment, please contact John Rynne directly on 085-7866 535.

Alternatively, call Dave Williams in GOAL on 087-419 7140 to arrange an interview with John.

David Williams GOAL Media & PR Officer

Tel: 00 353 (0)1 280 9779 Mob: 00 353 (0)87 419 7140 Email: dwilliams@goal.ie Skype: david.williams761

GOAL is an international humanitarian organisation

GOAL PO Box 19, Dun Laoghaire,

Co. Dublin Ireland www.goal.ie

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